Data on how deaf children are doing at school

Apparently, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. And then there’s a new category: figures relating how deaf children get on at school.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families have given us the latest figures on the attainment of deaf children and we intend to publish them next Tuesday with some accompanying analysis and a pretty little spreadsheet. I don’t think it will come as a huge surprise when I say the figures will confirm that there is still a large attainment gap between deaf children and all children. We’ll be doing some media work to promote the figures and to call for more support for deaf children at schools.

At the same time, I’m bracing myself for a barrage of tut-tutting. The figures are quite controversial in some quarters because they don’t include all deaf children, only those who are getting specialist support at schools. Some have argued it’s misleading to use these figures and that it demoralises professionals.

I take a different view. The figures are not perfect but they are still the best available. No evidence has been provided to suggest the figures are unrepresentative or that there is not a wide attainment gap between deaf children and their hearing peers. If there was, I’d quite happily go home and watch Hollyoaks all day.

I see the point about demoralising staff. Which is why we’re always careful to say that we think professionals are dedicated and doing a good job with a lack of wider support and funding from their local authority and central Government. In any event, should professionals working with deaf children be exempt from wider discussion and scrutiny about how deaf children are doing?

Finally, the data is used for an important end – to shine the spotlight on the education of deaf children and to persuade Government to take action. If we held off from ever using data unless it was 100% verifiable and perfect, then we may never be able to make the case for action. And all the time, the education of deaf children would suffer. And that’s not acceptable.

It’s going to be interesting to see the reaction. In the meantime, what do you think? Are we right to publish the data and to use it to shine a spotlight on education of deaf children.


4 thoughts on “Data on how deaf children are doing at school

  1. Are Deaf Children Being Left Behind According to NCLB?

    In my opion and belief, yes they are. They will continue to fall through the cracks until we break down the eductional divide. This is a survey that I conducted and sent out to State department of Education in all the states in the US. So far I have received minimal responses.
    First I would like to introduce myself. I have served as an Educational Interpreter for 15 years until completing my teaching degree. I am the co-founder of the ITP at WVSCTC, and am currently working as a video interpreter and an ITP Instructor.
    I am conducting a research survey, and in order to accomplish my quest, I would like to ask you a few questions regarding teachers for the deaf/hh and interpreting issues.

    1. Does your state/county require teachers of the deaf/hh to have a certification in Deaf Education or just Special Education? (Does the No Child Left Behind Act have any impact on this decision?)

    2. Does your state/county require interpreting certification for Interpreters in the Educational system? (If your answer is yes, what are the requirements? EIPA, RID, State assessment?)

    3. Does your state/county distinguish the difference in service personnel and professional personnel?

    4. Are teachers of the deaf/hh classified as professional personnel?

    5. Are interpreters for the deaf/hh classified as service personnel or are they contract?

    6. Are teachers for the deaf/hh interpreting in the mainstream setting?
    If yes, are they certified to interpret and required to meet the same requirements held for interpreters?
    If yes, does the county recognize that they are out of classification if they are not classified in the same scope with interpreters?

    7. What suggestions would you make in defining the difference and similarities of teaching and interpreting?

    In your response please list the state (counties if possible) and the name of your organization.

    Thank you for your support in my endeavors,
    Antonia Hall

  2. I like your title, “Campaigning for Deaf Children” Positive Image…. I’ve been participating in similar one, Campaign for Liberty organization. I agree that there are many biased and fixed stats. Those people who conduct those testing and comparisons require to provide thorough table/chart of numbers, how many students? Grade? Gender? age, etc. I do not support IDEA law, they are a waste of time and so costly. Too pathetic. I wish former presidential candidate Ron Paul was elected, he would have abolished it, no question. Good blog!

  3. Can you kindly post comparative statistics for other minorities and those who attend school using english as a second language? It seems to me that without these comparative statistics you really don’t have a good view of the situation. In America, most Deaf children graduate with a fourth-grade reading level – but then so do most minorities! It is possible education is simply geared at maximising achievement for majority-type students.

  4. Should we not be given the statistics WITHOUT your overview ? we can make up our own minds as to accuracy and relevance. You appear to have condemned the figures before we even saw them. This is not unbiased reporting. We want the plain unvarnished stats, without the frills please. It is not informing deaf people if you have already made your mind up and intend to give YOUR Version. Looks like I will have to get the figures myself.

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